Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour: Carlsen wins 3-1, forces deciding set

Desperate for a victory, Magnus Carlsen posted a dramatic triumph over Hikaru Nakamura in the sixth set to take the final into the decider.

Playing white, Carlsen sacrificed two queenside pawns and created more chances for his pieces to occupy attacking positions.   -  FILE PHOTO/RAJEEV BHATT

Needing a victory to force the tie-breaking seventh set, Magnus Carlsen produced a masterly performance that nailed Hikaru Nakamura 3-1 and levelled the match at 3-3 in the $300,000 Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour Finals on Wednesday.

Despite nursing a sprain back suffered during a short swim, half an before the start of the set, Carlsen showed he had enough motivation to regain his edge and an advantage in the tie.

As it happened | Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour Final: Carlsen beats Nakamura in set 6  

Carlsen won the first game in a cavalier fashion. He gave up two pawns on the queen's side to help his pieces control important squares. Soon he sacrificed his knight to rip open the fortress of Nakamura's castled king. He bravely traded his rook for a knight to pave the way for a deadly attack and eventually chased Nakamura's king from one flank to the other.

Nakamura had a chance to draw parity around the 33rd move but, with time ticking away, missed the continuation. With his queen and bishop, Carlsen went on to catch the black king in a checkmating net in 41 moves.

In the second game, which ended in 70 moves with only the kings on the board, Carlsen encountered some serious trouble around the 58th move. But once Nakamura mishandled his rook for a move, Carlsen forced a draw by finding a perfect continuation in an endgame involving a rook each and pawns.

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The third game ended in just 17 moves following a three-fold repetition of moves. This result left Carlsen retaining his one-point lead.

The fourth game, where Nakamura played white, Carlsen played too solidly to deny his rival any winning chances. In desperation, Nakamura blundered on the 36th move and resigned four moves later when Carlsen was calculating a seven-move combination to deliver a checkmate.

Thursday's final set will serve as a decider with the winner of the tournament standing to win $300,000 USD.

The results:

Final: Set Six: Magnus Carlsen (Nor) bt Hikaru Nakamura (USA) 3-1.

After six sets, Carlsen and Nakamura are tied at 3-3.


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